New Trillium 1300 Owner in Ontario - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-27-2019, 07:46 PM   #1
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New Trillium 1300 Owner in Ontario

So we finally did it. After a sensational ten days driving around Vancouver Island in a rented Trillium last year, my wife and I bought a 1978 Trillium 1300 of our own. Normally, we rough it in a tent, but seeing as we now have a newborn, we thought this might be easier to get out into nature and a great way to explore North America. We live 30 minutes from the Detroit/Windsor border.

The trailer itself is in solid shape overall short of some internal cosmetic issues and a door that seems to be hanging slightly off kilter. I've already seen some of the forum posts regarding the latter issue (this site is great!).

Quick question for the more seasoned owners on here. In terms of customizing the trailer (removing components inside) are there any issues? Are there parts that serve as both functional and structural components? Any advice on customizing?

A quick run down of a few things I'm considering:

1. Removing the burners as I don't like cooking indoors. If I have a kettle to boil water that's plenty for me. The rest I would like to do outdoors and I'd prefer the counter space.
2. Figuring out a way to enlarge the bed somehow? Not sure if the closet space is a structural or if it can be removed to enlarge the bed.
3. Re-wiring the trailer so that it can run off battery power for an extended period of time.
4. Alternatives to the propane furnace for heating?

I don't have any experience in trailers or finer electrical work. I am willing to learn and get as much advice/help from you knowledgeable folks on here.

Looking forward to future chats and if anyone has input on the items above, please don't hesitate; I never turn down free advice.

Lech
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Old 05-27-2019, 07:59 PM   #2
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Propane is the most efficient and versatile way to heat and cook and camp where you like, on the move. You can make a cover for the range to increase counter space. Several owners have used a cutting board for that purpose. That would preserve the range should you decide to sell and move to a larger unit.
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Old 05-27-2019, 08:23 PM   #3
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Hello and welcome to the forum Lech!

- The closet is structural. Also the closet and all of the other furniture is permanently fiberglassed to the outer shell, making it difficult to remove. However you can remove the closet, then install bracing from floor to ceiling to provide necessary stiffening and support to the upper wall and roof.

- The Trillium 1300 as originally wired is designed to run off battery power (at least the lights). You could add 12volt and 5 volt dc outlets. For extended battery use, you could add solar charging. The propane/electric fridge is NOT designed to run off battery for an extended period, but rather propane or 110 volt AC electric.
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Old 05-28-2019, 09:26 AM   #4
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Name: George
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Hi,
all the inside fiberglass pieces are structural, remember that these RV's are 40+ years old and there is no frame. I have added 2 diagonal supports for the kitchen upper closet. I put in a temp center support in winter to help with snow load when storing outside. If you want a bigger bed you should buy a T4500 or similar size RV. I installed a stove with a cover to increase counter space. About the wiring: it is 40 years old and could probably use updating for today's expectations.
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Old 05-28-2019, 10:27 AM   #5
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Sleep with your heads on opposite sides and it makes the bed bigger.

Old PD 6911 power centers are very limited and tend to boil batteries. They only put out 6amps DC which is less than the interior lights use themselves. I’ll be installing a new PD4135 when I get home.

Every piece of furniture inside adds structural strength. And in the case of the 1300 they are fiberglassed in so removal would be quite an ordeal.
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Old 05-28-2019, 07:33 PM   #6
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Any chance you could direct me to some literature on the electronics components? I wouldn’t even know where to begin
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Old 05-28-2019, 07:35 PM   #7
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Any benefit to continuing using the original propane powered fridge rather than upgrade to a more efficient modern electric fridge and running off battery?
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Old 05-28-2019, 07:48 PM   #8
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Refrigerator is not going to do well off the battery alone and getting one to fit will be a problem. One nice feature of the Trillium is the relatively wide aisle way in the middle. Part of this is due to the relatively shallow cabinets, which means the refrigerator spot is very limited. If your current refrigerator works, that's a blessing.

Extended period of time = save the battery for lighting. Let propane provide heat and refrigeration.

Check out the document center for info on the electrical.

Getting the battery to last longer = reduce the load on the battery, like LED lights. Don’t increase the load on the battery. That will just shorten its run time.
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Old 05-28-2019, 09:09 PM   #9
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Lech, I agree with what Bill said above.

The original propane electric fridge can be operated on 110 vac when you have shore power and on propane when you don't have access to shore power. Biggest problem with this type of fridge is that it won't keep food cold when ambient temperature rises above mid 70s.

A modern high efficiency compressor fridge can be used with or without shore power, but it requires at least 200 watts of solar panels and 200 amp hours of battery capacity when you are camping off grid. Biggest advantage to this type of fridge is that you can set the temperature and it will maintain.
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Old 05-28-2019, 09:41 PM   #10
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If you find a compressor refrigerator that actually fits in the existing space in the Trillium, post it here as there is a lot of interest in these refrigerators!
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Old 05-29-2019, 06:20 AM   #11
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Here are examples of compact, low power consumption compressor fridges that I believe will fit in a Trillium. These manufacturers make several different sized fridges.

Norcold

https://norcold.com/product/norcold-...-refrigerator/

Isotherm

https://www.westmarine.com/buy/isoth...95?recordNum=1

Truckfridge

https://www.truckfridge.com/product/...ac-12-volt-dc/
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Old 05-30-2019, 08:06 AM   #12
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Hi, Im from Chatham Ontario and have a 81 Trillium 4500 which I have done some work on electrically and been around trailers for years.
If I can be of any assistance dont hesitate to contact me direct joyedco@sympatico.ca. I was working on mine to use have some severe health issues which arent going away.
I am ok to talk visit or whatever. I have to assume you are within an hour of me.
Regards and good luck.
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Old 06-05-2019, 11:55 AM   #13
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Trllium 1300

I'm going to echo several comments already made. I have a 1974 Trillium 1300.

Previous owner(s) removed the furnace. If you have a working furnace, keep it! I really wish I had one.

If the fridge will still cool properly on 110 and propane, keep it! I haven't been able to test my fridge for consumption but a friend with a similar vintage fridge gets 5 days off a tank of propane. A lot easier and less expensive to haul around an extra tank of propane than build a battery system to power a fridge for a similar period of time is my guess.

I'm putting together a LiFePo battery system using 4 3.2V 200 Ah cells. I will add a 100 watt solar panel (this is the cool part - a guy I know builds solar panels using carbon fibre and other substrates that he vacuum bags...very light and thin and tough. We are going to use the panel to replace the stone guard on the front window) as well as have a charger that I can use if I have access to 110. I have found this process to be very confusing and involved...BMSes, MPPT solar controllers, Cell balancers, etc, etc. I am very lucky in that the LiFePo cells were acquired at an extremely good price....but as you add the other bits and pieces, the costs add up. I often think I'd be better off skipping the whole process and using battery powered led lights. But, once I get going something I just keep forging ahead.

I'd also leave the burners alone. Building a cover from some wood is easy and inexpensive. I'd find a way to make it expensive but that's just me lol.

Good luck and enjoy the Trillium.

Murray
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Old 06-05-2019, 02:12 PM   #14
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switch to LEDs

In order to get more from my batteries I switched out the old bulbs for LEDs. They do make them and you can get them cheaply on Amazon. Or if you don't like the look of the old lights, you can add new AAA battery LED bar lights.

You could always upgrade your Marine battery to an AGM style or golf cart battery and get so much more hours of time. There is also a flexible style solar panel available that is easy to mount on the roof and doesn't weigh much at all.

Consider an inexpensive Induction cook top and sink it into a new counter where your old burner stove was. Nice easy way to cook if you have electric.

I have seen people use an electric thin wall heater where the old furnace was. If your old furnace had an exhaust on the outside, then you can add a small cargo door there and have extra storage.

These are some modification I made as well as the new owner of my Trilly

Enjoy your wonderful Trilly and get camping!!!
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Old 06-06-2019, 06:45 AM   #15
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We bought an all electric EggCamper and it wasnít at all satisfying. I had a local rv dealer/repair facility add a propane cooktop and furnace.
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Old 06-06-2019, 06:48 AM   #16
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Thank you to everyone for the replies. You can tell how green we are based on our plans 😂

I've thought about a lot of these and it makes sense to keep the battery for lights/plugs only. Thanks for the advice and I'll see you in the forums.
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Old 06-11-2019, 12:32 PM   #17
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If you decide not to use the cooktop or a fridge or a heater and would want to sell them, let me know. I just bought a 1973 Trillium 1300 and all my appliances are rusted. It was sitting under rain in a rainy BC for the last 10 years. So I'm looking for appliances. Shipping cooktop to BC shouldn't be too expensive so I'm interested to buy. Not sure how much the shipping would be if you are to sell the fridge or heater but would be interested in those two.
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